13 Terrific Classes for Babies & Toddlers in San Diego

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As you gradually get more comfortable (and excited!) about our community opening up and having the option to offer your baby or toddler a class that isn’t virtual or taught by you, we’re highlighting a bunch of local classes for little ones in San Diego county. Whether your little learner is a mover and shaker, budding artist, future scientist, nature enthusiast or anyone in between, there is a class that will spark their interest and keep them both curious and happily entertained.

The Native School

Calling all nature enthusiasts! The Native School is a 100% place-based, outdoor forest school offering preschool and kindergarten classes in North County San Diego. The school is founded on the Scandinavian forest school model and the belief that a child’s strong connection to the earth is essential to their well-being. Influenced by European approaches to early learning, the teachers act as facilitators, while the natural classroom environment also acts as an educator. Students gain hands on experience, while meeting school readiness standards for math, language, literacy and science. The school also strongly emphasizes a connection to the student's social and emotional well-being. Set in the many "living laboratories" of North County, classrooms rotate and are coordinated with enrolled families. It's a truly unique and special learning experience for curious minds. 

Good to know: Learn more about and register for summer sessions today. 

2292 Faraday Ave.
Carlsbad, CA 92008
760-452-8182
Online: thenativeschool.com

Baby Sign Language Class

For wee ones just walking, but not quite talking, sign language is a great way to learn. Classes are fun and interactive with reading, songs and playtime to help you and your little one learn sign language. Even more, there are tips and tricks about incorporating signing outside of class. Did we mention toddlers meet new friends who inspire learning? A definite bonus! If you want to check it out before signing up for a class, attend a library storytime for free. You'll find the current schedule online.

Cost: From $185/child for 8 open-air classes; online options available

1947 30th St.
San Diego, CA 92102 
619-987-4834
Online: babysignlanguage.net

Young Scientist Program

If you have a budding scientist in your house, then the Young Scientist Program at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center may just be the thing for you. This four-week program is designed to help mini science lovers (and an accompanying parent or caregiver) check out the scientific wonders of the world. Sessions are currently held online and include an hour-long exploration into Earth checking out water, plants, seeds, rocks and landforms. There’s also an adventure into astronomy investigating planets, moons, stars and rockets; a mighty meteorologist breakdown where you will learn about measuring weather. Lastly, there’s a cool kids chemistry lesson with radical reactions, states of matters and mixtures. The program is best suited to mini Einsteins, ages 3-5 years old. 

Cost: $75/session for members, $85/session for non-members
Hours: Thurs. or Sat., 11 a.m.

1875 El Prado
Balboa Park
San Diego, CA 92101
619-238-1233
Online: rhfleet.org/events/young-scientists

Tinkergarten

Spending time with your toddler can be a walk in the park, literally. Your kiddo will love classes like mud play or bubble time. Even more, you'll love that it's at your local park. Led by a group leader these classes encourage meeting friends, exploring nature and just plain old fun. Their play-based learning curriculum adapts to all the different skills that kids are developing and practicing. Classes available in various locations throughout San Diego. Find one near you!

Good to know: Families can try a free complimentary class to see if it's the right fit.

Cost: $135+ for 6-8 week sessions

Online: tinkergarten.com

If I Was A Bird Yoga

Put a little om in your next outing with your budding yogi with a class at this kid-friendly yoga studio. Classes for tots warm up with an art project, continue with yoga poses, songs and movement. Students enrolled receive their own art & yoga bundles to use for class each week. Materials are not shared among other students and are stored at the studio for your child to use each week. Your tot leaves happy, calm and full. The studio also offers birthday parties and special camps at select locations. 

Cost: Introductory class, $20

Locations: Flower Hill Promenade, Mission Hills and Liberty Station
Online: ifiwasabirdyoga.com

ChIMES by The San Diego Youth Symphony

The ChIMES program by the San Diego Youth Symphony is playing your little one's tune! ChIMES (Childhood Introduction to Music Education, with Smiles) is designed for kids from infants to age 5. Classes provide meaningful music-making experiences that encourage family bonding, at-home learning and pave the way for future musical development. These interactive classes develop motor and aural skills by incorporating singing, movement, rhythm activities, hands-on instrument play and lots of fun. Classes often feature guest musicians and families might learn about the French Horn one week (and get up close to touch it and see how it works) and the next week they might watch a young violinist or cellist come in to demonstrate their instrument and play a few tunes.

Our favorite part? Babies are welcome! Although this program welcomes all young kids up to age 5, it's extremely popular with the “baby crowd.” ChIMES is one of the only music classes around that allows and encourages participation from families with very young babies. It offers a great way for new moms to get out, bond with their baby and meet other parents.

Good to know: ChIMES is currently offering an online option as well as in-person, socially-distant outdoor classes in Balboa Park and Liberty Station. ChiMES current "Surf, Sun, and Fun" Sessions feature songs and activities about the beach, ocean critters, and outdoor adventures. Welcome to the musical sandbox, little one!

Dates: 2, 4-week sessions, June & July

Online: sdys.org/chimes

Soccer Shots

Eager to see your sporty tot out on the field again? Soccer Shots is a high-energy program that introduces children to fundamental soccer principles, such as using your feet, dribbling and the basic rules of the game. Groups are broken out by age, but whether you're in the Minis (ages 2-3), the Classics (ages 3-5), or the Primers (ages 5-8), you know that your little Christiano Rinaldo or Mia Hamn is going to have fun through games, songs and positive reinforcement.

Good to know: Soccer Shots also offers backyard camp for your select group. Find the need-to-know info here.

Online: soccershots.com

Multiple Music Classes

As adults, we know music has the ability to transform our mood, break us out of a funk and just add an extra dose of pure joy to our lives. For babies and toddlers, play combined with music does all of that and more. It has the ability to help develop processing of both music and new speech sounds. Creating music, and the human interaction that accompanies music-making, involves multi-sensory activities that grow and foster strong brain growth and healthy interaction between young children and their caregivers. Luckily, there are plenty of places in San Diego County for kiddos to bounce to the beat. Whether it's an outdoor class at Liberty Station or a Mommy-and-Me class at Blossom Music Tree, there are plenty of options for your budding Bach. Try one of these local music schools to get your baby in the groove. 

Blossom Music Tree
Outdoor classes not available at Cottonwood Creek Park
95 N. Vulcan Ave.
Encinitas, CA 92024
Online: blossommt.com/SummerOutdoor.html

Nightingale Music
Locations at La Jolla, La Mesa & South Park 
Online: nightingalemusicschool.com

Songbird Music
Locations at Liberty Station/Ingram Plaza
Online: songbirdmusic.com

San Diego Air & Space

Do you have a little engineer at home who thrives when they get to use science to build and create? The San Diego Air & Space Museum offers a hands-on STEM enrichment program that helps children build school-ready skills by encouraging communication and problem solving. In their latest Astronaut Challenge, kids get to find out if they have what it takes to survive on the moon. They'll learn to design a rover, mine for lunar ice, fix a circuit and more! From fun forces and bursting energy to exploring space and airplane adventures, you'll find a class that piques your toddler's interest. Each session lasts four weeks and is designed for children ages 3-5 with accompanying adult.

Good to know: For the first time, the museum is also offering drop-in classes where kids can have Fun with Physics and try an Astronaut Challenge.

Balboa Park
2001 Pan America Plaza
San Diego, CA 92101
Online: sandiegoairandspace.org

The Tu Tu School

Babies and toddlers dance, twirl and spin their way through a joyful hour at The Tu Tu School in Carlsbad. Tiny dancers, ages 18 months to 8 years old, will learn the art of ballet and use their creativity and movement during these classes. What a way to get plenty of exercise before nap time! Tutu Toddler classes encourage aspiring dancers to be imaginative and move to the beat. Check out their class schedule to get dancing. The Tu Tu School also offers parties to help your swan or sugar plum fairy celebrate their big day with friends.

Good to know: Families can try a free trial class. 

6996 El Camino Real, #107
Carlsbad, CA 92008
Online: tutuschool.com

––Aimee Della Bitta, Beth Shea & Nikki Walsh

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